Ariana Resources Ltd (LON:AAU) has already seen interest in its Salinbas project following the takeover of Mariana Resources by mining royalty group Sandstorm, its managing director Kerim Sener has told Proactive.
Mariana Resources’ (LON:MARL) key asset is the keenly awaited Hot Maden gold project that it is developing with Turkish partner Lidya.
Ariana has acreage at Hizarliyayla on its Salinbas licence, that is just 8km from Hot Maden while other parts lie in what is fast becoming a substantial gold mining district in the country, says Sener.
He wants the company to do more work itself at Salinbas to see what’s there and exploration is now underway to test how much gold the licence may hold, but he adds the Sandstorm move highlights the opportunity.
“It is an area that, along with Hot Maden, is proving to be an exceptionally prospective goldfield with multi-million ounce potential."
Hot Gold corridor
The Salinbas prospect already contains a JORC resource of 1mln oz gold equivalent, but remains only partially explored, said Sener, especially along the ‘Hot Gold’ corridor.
Some 37 target areas have been identified within the project area, mostly around the Salinbas gold/silver deposit, Ardala gold and copper porphyry and Hizarliyayla.
“There are several drilling results, rock-chip, soil and geophysical and geological targets that have not yet been tested to any significant degree,” he said.
“These targets are mainly defined within and around the Salinbas and Ardala resource areas but several additional targets lie elsewhere within the 16km long Hot Gold Corridor.
And the latest results released to market in early September, only give grounds for further encouragement. Several high priority geochemical targets have now been identified and Ardala North will be prioritised.
Salinbas icing on a very solid base
It is further evidence of the momentum that is building at Ariana since the end of 2016 when its first mine in Turkey, at Kiziletepe, came on stream.
Kiziltepe is part of the wider Red Rabbit licence that Ariana owns jointly with local partner Proccea Construction.
At full tilt, the mine will churn out 20,000 ounces of the yellow metal a year but Ariana is already taking steps to increase that through exploration of the surrounding area.
A scoping study has already come back very favourably at Tavsan for example, 75km away.
If numbers continue to impress it may add a further 30,000 ounces a year to the 20,000 oz expected from Kiziltepe.
The study at Tavsan showed production at that level would cost between US$559-630/oz over the expected four-year mine life and generate a net present value of US$41.9mln at a gold price of US$1,250.
This is a return of 80% on the expected US$20mln build cost plus operating expenses.
Sener will look at fast-tracking further exploration and development work with completion of a more detailed pre-feasibility study (PFS) in 2017 the aim.
Resource grows at Kiziltepe
But closer to Kiziltepe, exploration has also been proving fruitful.
A resource update in March indicated an estimated 257,500 oz of gold and 4.87Moz silver to make 338,500oz gold equivalent overall. That is an increase of 100,000 oz on the previous JORC estimate.
Ore tonnage meanwhile has risen to 3.8Mt following the inclusion of all subsidiary veins drill tested to date, while there is a further 1.25Mt at 1.8g/t gold and 31 g/t silver in vein extensions across Kiziltepe that have not yet been drill tested.
For example, extensions to the west of Kiziltepe for about 4km have shown a low-grade and high-tonnage style of stockwork mineralisation in alteration zones between some of the veins.
More drill testing is required but Sener said the presence of antimony suggests it is high in an epithermal system, which is a very encouraging sign.